Open Source tools and Social Media To Promote Learning Communities

How useful do you find the open source tools and social media for learning? Is it your personal preference that drives this or the affordances? Would they be useful for others if you find it lacking? What would make them more useful?

Social media and open source tools can be integrated to improve or disturb the overall cognitive process. Instructional design is often the critical component missing. Often instructional leaders or faculty either lack technical skill sets or instructional design skill sets, viewing technology as a separate component or department from learning. Clark’s (1983) assessment of media, or in this case social media, as vehicles “delivering instruction or a grocery truck delivering nutritious food”, remains true. Integrating media tools isn’t a new problem, as evidenced by the great Clark-Kozma debate. The tool or media in question, however, is now more engaging, productive, and full of great but also equally destructive learning potential, enhancing Kozma’s (1991) arguments that media, if used correctly, influences cognitive processing capabilities. Fewkes and McCabe (2012) offer insight on the uses of Facebook as a learning tool but also as a distraction. If educators do not have access to instructional support equipped with a background in learning technologies along with learning theory and pedagogical practices, classrooms might view Facebook as “entertainment” not “true intellectual engagement” (p. 93). In my opinion, this is why strong curriculum support is needed, requiring such skill sets mentioned above. Too much media also interferes with cognitive processing. A balanced approach to open source tools and social media integration is needed for true learning to occur. Confusion on just accessing on-demand technology, instead of focusing on learning outcomes leads to a failed learning experience.

Fewkes and McCabe (2012) research suggest the following approaches to integrating Facebook in the classroom. A strong approach to in-service for staff development on the proper instructional use of digital technology and social media will help with instructional design approaches. Districts should not just focus on policy during training. All stakeholders should engage in conversation to consider barriers to create rich environments. Provide more freedom and trust, in a less controlled atmosphere, could produce an overall congruent vision and use of social media as a learning tool.

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

Fewkes, A. M., & McCabe, M. (2012). Facebook: Learning Tool or Distraction?. Journal Of Digital Learning In Teacher Education, 28(3), 92-98.

Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research Review of Educational Research J1 – Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 179.



About instructionaltechnologist101

Instructional Technologist 1 to 1, Avid change agent, Mac Enthusiastic, Implemented K12 1:1 program, managed offsite curriculum center in community museum, learner, PhD student in Educational Technology at University of North Texas. The future is now!

Posted on April 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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